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Home >> Yunnan Travel Guide, China Travel Information On Yunnan Kunming - Weather & Climate, Geography, History, Map, Transportation

Yunnan Travel

Yunnan locationYunnan is one of the most attractive destinations in China, a showpiece of China's natural and cultural wonders. Yunnan province is ranging from tropical rain forests on the South to the Tibetan highlands on the North. It has an enormous variety of flora and fauna. Yunnan is the home of 25 ethnic minority groups with colorful cultures and traditions. Half of China's plant and animal species can be found in Yunnan. Most parts of Yunnan are warm in winter and cool in summer, which makes it an ideal destination to travel to at any time of the year. . Due to its historically remote frontier position, bordered with Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, and due to its rich ethnic mixture, Yunnan has its own attractive and relaxed identity, and something to offer to each traveler.

We design made-to-measure tours to Yunnan, South West China and Tibet. We believe that Yunnan should be the main part to every tour to China. The tours on our website are just a sample and can be tailor made depending on your budget, schedule and interests.

 

Yunnan Weather & Climate

Yunnan Weather & ClimateYunnan's varied and diverse climate means that, while Kunming enjoys pleasant spring-like weather for most of the year, the elevated eastern plateau experiences warm summers and mild winters, and the climate can change substantially during a journey of just a few kilometres. To the west, the valley floors and lower slopes of this mountainous area enjoy warm humid weather, while a temperate zone stands between 2,000 to 3,000 metres, and ice and snow envelop the high summits. Monsoons off the Pacific and Indian oceans provide adequate rainfall, with May through October the wettest months.

 

Geography of Yunnan

Geography of YunnanYunnan Province is the continuation of the Tibetan plateau and occupies an area of 394,000sqkm, similar in size to the US State of California. With the Himalayas dominating the north, and the equatorial tropics warming the southern areas, the area's geographical features are diverse and spectacular. Yunnan shares a western border with Myanmar and a southern border with Laos and Vietnam. Two geographically different regions are divided by the Ai-lao Mountains: a limestone plateau to the east, and a mountainous area with several peaks above 5,000 metres, to the west. The highest point is the 6,740-metre Kagebo Peak on the Yunnan-Tibet border. The torrential rivers are too swift for navigation, but have huge largely untapped hydroelectric potential. The elevation of the eastern plateau varies from 2,130 metres at its western end, to 1,370 metres on the Kweichow border, where intermountain basins and broad fertile valleys facilitate intensive farming. More than 40 freshwater lakes, the highest number in Southwest China, lie in geological faults on the plateau. Larger lakes include Dianchi, Erhai, Fuxian, Yangzonghai and Lagu. About 30 percent of the land area is forested, and is home to a large variety of flora and fauna.

 

Yunnan History

Yunnan HistoryThough the plains of Yunnan were originally the home to numerous aboriginal tribes, Chinese invasions over several centuries pushed them into mountainous areas, where many ethnic groups, direct descendants of those original tribes live today. The powerful Tai kingdom of Nanchao held sway over Yunnan for 247 years, during the Tang dynasty (AD 618-907), but was replaced by the Dali Kingdom in 937AD. For 300 years, Dali ruled supreme until, in 1253, in was over-run by Kublai Khan's Mongol hordes and assimilated into his growing empire. The take-over turned out to have many positive effects. The capital was moved to Kunming, trade with the rest of the empire stimulated the local economy, living standards improved, and ethnic relations harmonised. Kunming had become a prosperous city by the time Marco Polo arrived, and was renowned for its skilled craftsmen. During the 14th century, several hundred thousand troops, civilians, and officials were despatched to the province by the Ming Court to set up military outposts and reclaim land. Agriculture, mining, and social development all benefited from the influx of expertise. In the mid-17th century, Manchurian troops occupied most of the central areas of China, and the Qing Dynasty took the reigns of power in Yunnan. China's national power was weakened after it lost the Opium War in 1840, and Yunnan was yielded to British and French imperialism - the French building the Hanoi-Kunming railway line to exploit the province's resources. The British occupied territory in northwestern Yunnan, and forced China to concede territory in what is now the Myanmar state of Kachin.

During the Sino-Japanese War (1937-45), manufacturing, education and government bodies moved to Kunming, promoting the growth of industry and the development of natural resources. Kunming became major US Air Force base during WWII, and Yunnan was a main transit route for allied supplies.

On October 1, 1949, Mao Tse Tung announced the founding of the People's Republic of China and Yunnan was peacefully taken over by Red Army troops under General Lu Han on December 9, 1949. In March 1950, the People's Government of Yunnan Province was established. The Cultural Revolution and the Second Indochina War were both trying times for the province, but - as with many periods in its history - after taking the knocks, the province has come back stronger than ever. Large-scale economic development has taken place and great efforts have been made to increase trading capacity, stabilise prices, and enhance living standards in both urban and rural areas. With its forward-looking policies, natural resources, physical beauty and tourist potential, Yunnan is set for an impressive future.

 

Getting to Yunnan and Around
Yunnan Transportation

To get to Yunnan Province, travelers must know about Kunming, since it is the transportation hub of Yunnan. Kunming, as capital of Yunnan, performs an important gateway, linking China to South East Asia, South Asia and Pacific region.

Xishuangbanna International Airport, 4km from Jinghong city, was designed to accommodate airplanes from Boeing 737 down. 11 domestic air routes from Jinghong have been opened, including Kunming, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Tianjin, Zhengzhou and Guangxi, and two international routes to Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand. Kunming also connects Yunnan with Hong Kong, Rangoon, Vientiane, Singapore, Malaysia.

Over a decade ago, the mileage of Yunnan highways has reached 65,800 km, second only to Sichuan Province in China, among which there are 7 national highway lines, 6,081km; 61 provincial lines, 8,971km; county - level highway lines, 30,950km and country roads, 19,757 km, and now highways lead to every township. Ten thousand length of highway in Kunming link Yunnan with other provinces and other countries.

Railways also link Yunnan with other places. Current railway in Yunnan consists of Guiyang-Kunming, Chengdu-Kunming, Neijiang-Kunming, Yunnan-Vietnam, Kunming-Yuxi and Guangtong-Dali.

Yunnan Province is huge. Train travel requires much more time than air travel. However, if you are not in a hurry, train travel offers beautiful scenery along the way.

Train tickets can be booked in most hotels in Kunming city or you can book tickets 7 days prior to your departure at a railway station ticket office, 08:00 to 17:30.

There are six main water connections in Yunnan. Jinghong and Simao ports open to the outside world. Many rivers open for commercial international trade with neiboring countries. Cang River with its lower reaches called Mekong is the only international river linking 6 countries in Asia.

 

Kunming International Airport

Kunming International AirportLocation: Located at Wujiaba in the southeast suburbs of Kunming, about 6.5km from Kunming.
Address: 146, Dongfeng Dong Lu, Kunming

Airport Transportation: The airport is 5 km south of the city center (Dongfeng Square). To get to the airport by taxi usually costs about RMB15 and takes 20 minutes. Bus No. 52 runs from Daguan Tower via the main railway station to the airport. Also, bus No.67 runs by the north railway station via the main railway station. Lastly, bus No.78 runs between the airport and the north railway station via the municipal government building. Most of the above buses are available from 6am to 10pm.

Xishuangbanna International Airport

Location: Located 4km south of Jinghong city.

 

Yunnan Facts at a Glance

Area 394,000 sq.km.
Capital City Kunming
Population Approximately 41 Million
Language Mandarin. A local dialect is also spoken, not understood by outsiders. Outside large hotels, very little English is spoken
Religion Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Christianism
Climate Varies widely according to latitude and elevation, from subtropical in the south, to high tundra in northern areas.
Local Time GMT +8
Currency Chinese Renminbi (RMB) is the medium of exchange. The basic unit of RMB is yuan, in denominations of 100, 50, 10, 5, 2 and 1. The yuan is divided into 10 jiao, which is further divided into 10 fen.
Credit Cards Accepted in large hotels, but generally not in wide use.
Business Hours Government Offices: 8:00-12:00, 14:30-18:30;
Businesses: 8:30-12:00, 14:30-18:00;
Banks: 8:30-12:00, 14:30-18:00.
Post Offices: 08:00-19:00 hrs
Travellers cheques Travellers cheques and currencies may be exchanged into Yuan in major banks and hotels.
Tipping Small tips are expected, in addition to hotel and restaurant service charges.
Electricity supply 220V, 50 Hz
Tourist Information Yunnan Airlines - Bangkok: (66-2) 2163067-8; email: bkk3q@samart.co.th Air China -Kunming: (86-761) 2730022; Bangkok: (66-2) 6310731-4; Hanoi: (84-4) 8269233
Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration -Tel: (86-871) 3543560, 3545832; Fax: (86-871) 3517048

 

Yunnan Travel Map

Yunnan map

Focus On Yunnan

About Yunnan

25 Minorities
Folk Dances in Yunnan
Yunnan 18 peculiars
Dai Ethnic Group
Folk dances of the Dai People
Yunnan Bronze Masterpieces
The Nujiang River Valley
Zheng Ying Village
The Famous Pu'er Tea
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